Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (23)

What's your favourite Christmas carol? Lots of songs are sung at Christmas time, and over the next few days we'll be looking at some of the songs from the first Christmas. The songs continue to give the message of the promise of Jesus' coming, as well as responding to the good news.

Today we're thinking about Mary's song, known in some circles as the Magnificat. It was sung by the young virgin Mary when she arrived at the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, themselves the recent recipients of news of a strange birth - but more about that tomorrow!

While Mary doesn't mention Jesus himself, her song (full of Biblical pictures and allusions) is looking forward (in the prophetic past tense) to what things will be like when her son, Jesus, is born, all because of what God has done for her:

"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
(Luke 1:46-53)

The Lord God is her Saviour, the mighty one and holy one has done great things for her. Things will be turned upside down, so that the proud are humbled and the humble are lifted high. The hungry will be filled (just think of the 5000 men as well as women and children who were fed), while those who exploit them are sent away empty.

Why does all this happen? Why will the coming of the Lord Jesus lead to justice and peace? Mary knows her Bible, and the God revealed in the Bible:

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever
(Luke 1:54-55)

God is fulfilling his promises to Abraham and his offspring; God is helping his people as he again shows mercy to those who need it. O come, the fulfillment of all God's promises!

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